Atlanta Hawks: 1 improvement for each draft pick after Game 3

Atlanta Hawks. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports
Atlanta Hawks. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports /
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Atlanta Hawks
Atlanta Hawks Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports /

Improvement for Atlanta Hawks draft pick No. 3: Skylar Mays needs his flashes to become streaks

You didn’t think we’d leave off the 2020 second-round pick, did you? Not after we highlighted how Mays has been steadily improving even as his rookie teammates get most of the publicity. It’s easy to dismiss Mays, who’s averaging 16.3 points per game in the Summer League. He didn’t get to have his time as a rookie thanks to COVID.

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Instead of getting some extensive run last summer, Mays was thrust into action during the regular season and playoffs.

That has led to an aggressive Mays as he’s taken less than one shot fewer per game than Johnson. He’s also averaging 7.0 threes per game as he set out to work on his shooting for obvious roster reasons.

He’s seen some success with his approach, knocking down multiple triples in a row at times. The problem is those runs give way to air balls, errant passes, and bad decisions in general.

Mays is shooting a respectable 48.6 percent from the floor. But he’s hitting his threes at just a 33.3 percent clip.

The 6-foot-4 guard has the size and athleticism to get to the rim and has shown an ability to get to the rim and finish.

He’s scored 20 points in an actual NBA game, after all.

Small decisions like driving or passing instead of pulling up for a tough jumper would go a long way to keeping him in the good graces of the Hawks. They’ve had to see Nathan Knight, whom they tendered Mays a qualifying offer over, have a really nice summer for the Timberwolves.

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That can be a little bitter when we recently heard from management that they could still add another big before the season and a wealth of guards like Mays.